So often we think of Lent as culminating in the Triduum (Holy Thursday thru Holy Saturday).  What happens if we think of Lent and the Easter season as a unified whole?

The following message was written by Fr. John Klassen, OSB:

“On our campus in early spring, we burn sections of prairie and the oak savannah.  If one goes out to the prairie in the summer, the grasses in the burned area are twice the height of the unburned areas.  This process leaves behind a black ash that absorbs the sun’s warm energy, a nutrient-rich covering that the first rains soak into the ground.  Some seeds only germinate with a heat that cracks open a hard, protective shell.

We might think of Lent as the purifying, fiery love of the Holy Spirit.  We are baptized Christians, blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This image of a prairie burn gives us a new standing-place to reflect on both the Lenten and Easter Seasons.  So often we think of Lent as culminating in the Triduum, hard stop.  What happens if we think of Lent and the Easter season as a unified whole with Easter at the virtual center?  Suddenly, the invitation of this season is unified: to become more aware of the dying, the rising, the ascending of Jesus, and the sending of the Holy Spirit into our daily lives.

We imagine the fiery love of the Spirit burning away the debris, the underbrush that consumes so much of our spiritual and emotional energy.  Some of this underbrush is sin, pure and simple, the failure to live up to our Chrisian commitments.  Some may be trying to do too much in too little time: our lives are cluttered, unfocused, or frantic.  The invitation of Lent may be to let go of disappointment with ourselves or others, a disappointment that colors every day and saps our energy.

A prairie burn also releases new energy for growth.  The Spirit prompts us to ask: What new gifts can I discover in myself and others?  What do I need to learn to live more freely for others?  How might I be in greater solidarity with the poor?  How much am I willing to risk?  To what new beginning, what recommitment is the Spirit leading us?

Fire creates hairline cracks in some seeds and opens them to the moisture so necessary for germination.  The Spirit prompts us: Am I open to the love and care of others?  What part of my life do I hide from God, from others, so that I am inaccessible?  Certainly, committing time to prayer and silence, to be with God, is part of this movement.

Through the Easter season, the Spirit helps us embrace the profound conversion that the disciples of Jesus and early Christians underwent to appropriate the full meaning of the dying and rising of Jesus.  Repeatedly, we encounter the necessity of their letting go of partial or mistaken understandings of Jesus’ Messiahship; of needing to speak a new language; of opening arms and hearts to be inclusive in understanding the liberating energy of being baptized into the dying and rising of Jesus.  The Spirit accompanies us through the seasons of Lent and Easter as a renewing source of life.”